David Ellefson's longtime business partnerThom Hazaert was a guest on a recent episode of the"Talk Louder" podcast, hosted by veteran music journalist"Metal Dave" Glessner and lifelong hard rock/metal vocalistJason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS). Speaking about what he has been doing in the nine months since he announced that he was retiring from the music business,Thom said (as transcribed byBLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I just kind of laid low the last year. I didn't really fucking do anything. I spent all this time doing all thisEllefson shit that just went in the fucking toilet. I wrote a whole another record. I got an investor to give us a ton of money to pay for'No Cover' [theELLEFSON band's collection of covers] and to record a whole another record [of original material]. I spent six months writing that record. I was a little disillusioned so I sort of took some time off from creativity. But now I'm slowly dipping my toe back in."
Asked if theELLEFSON all-original album that he was working on withDavid will eventually see the light of day,Thom said: "Probably not, unfortunately. I had actually announced, beforeDavid's whole issues last year, literally a couple of weeks before that, onMark Mendoza's [TWISTED SISTER] podcast, I had actually announced that [David and I] weren't working together anymore; we just kind of went our separate ways. I had heart failure a couple of years ago from all the stress and dealing with all the bullshit, and I just was done with it. I died. At that point, you start reassessing relationships and situations in your life. And that's exactly what I did. Certain things that caused me too much stress I had to sort of just move on from.
"But no, unfortunately, I really don't [think theELLEFSON album will ever be released],"Thom continued. "And the reality is the stuff was too heavy forDavid. He didn't like it.David likesJOURNEY;David likesTOTO. And the record, I don't wanna say it was 'nu metal' but it was very contemporary crossed with really heavyGUNS N' ROSES. The reality isDavid just never really liked it. It was too contemporary for him; it was too heavy for him.David hates contemporary hard rock; it's not his thing, really. I think musically, the pages we were on were just different. A cover record you can do, 'cause you're just doing covers… I mean, it's fucking awesome — the record [we were working on] is awesome, and the songs were awesome. There were some songs on it that I wrote pretty much straight out; some of it me and him wrote together. Some of it were little parts that he had thatAndy [Martongelli, guitar] put together and then I kind of pulled them apart and [reworked them]. It was a lot of work; I put a lot of work into it and a lot of money… Some of the songs, I found out, after I spent tons of money working on them, he went and redid some of them with vocals with somebody else."
Thom, who now says that his June 2021 retirement announcement was nothing more than "a venting post onFacebook," added: "Look, I'm not gonna badtalk anybody, but I moved on from that situation,. And I love that record. I love the stuff I wrote with him. It's literally some of the most brilliant shit I've ever written in my life lyrically.
"There was so much momentum and so much stuff, andDavid had his personal things that happened and whatever, which I never commented on and I won't. That's between him and his family."
Hazaert went on to say that he was largely responsible for overseeingEMP Label Group, which issued"No Cover" and released music from a number of other artists.
"EMP was just myTHC label with a different name slapped on it andDavid Ellefson's credibility," he said. "It's all it was. I did all the work. I paid for everything. As much as people say it wasDavid Ellefson's label, it was my label and you were on the label and you know that. It was a partnership, but I did the work, I kept it alive, I kept it going. And I'm not gonna lie — that's what fucking killed me. The stress and heart failure, that's where it came from, man. Just out of my love for doing this and my love for the game."
Ellefson stepped out of the public eye for several months beginning last May, just days after sexually tinged messages and explicit video footage involving the bassist were posted onTwitter. At the time,Ellefson released a statement onInstagram denying all social media chatter that he "groomed" an underage fan. He also filed a report with the police department in Scottsdale, Arizona alleging unlawful distribution of sexually explicit images of him by unknown offenders. In the report,Ellefson admitted that he had been exchanging sexual text messages with a Dutch teenager, who captured a video of several of their virtual "masturbating encounters" without his consent and shared them with friends. (According toEllefson, the woman was 19 at the time of their first virtual sexual encounter.) Within two weeks, he was fired fromMEGADETH.
Two days after the videos and screenshots were initially leaked,Hazaert took to hisInstagram to share a photo of him with his middle finger extended, and he included the following message: "This one goes out to the chatty fuckers trying to whisper that I had something to do with what happened toDavid.David Ellefson is a grown fucking man and fully and solely responsible for his own decisions and judgment. But know... #ISeeYouMotherfucker".
When one person commented underThom's photo thatDavid should be commended "for getting out in front of it like a real man should" and "own[ing] up to his behavior",Hazaert responded: "absolutely.. which for the record.. I actually helped him do."
Ellefson, who has lived in Scottsdale since 1994, is also an author and entrepreneur, holding the reins ofEMP Label Group,Combat Records,Ellefson Coffee Co., and more, in addition to a diverse portfolio of brands and signature products.Ellefson was also inducted into the 2018 class of theIowa Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, just over the border from Jackson in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
"No Cover" was released in November 2020 viaearMUSIC (Europe) andWard Records (Japan). The effort was made available in conjunction withEllefson's revivedCombat Records, which issued the album in North America viaAmped.